3rd Sunday of Lent

Praying for Children

Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old Christian was one of 110 students kidnapped from a girls’ boarding school in Dapchi city, north-east Nigeria in February 2018. Five of the students died after they were seized. About a month, 104 of the young hostages were released. But Leah remains captive because she has refused repeated attempts to force her to convert to Islam.

Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, said: “My daughter’s trust and faith has made me realise that I have been living under the same roof with an admirable disciple of Christ. I am highly encouraged by her strong faith in the Lord and her refusal to renounce Christ even before death at the hands of Boko Haram.”

“the Lord is compassion and love” (Psalm 102)

This Sunday’s psalm states “the Lord is compassion and love” (Psalm 102). Jesus shows his love for children when he said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:16-17) God’s words and example reveals that kindness to those vulnerable in society and a child-like love for God and others are the keys to heaven. St Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to state this insight into God’s expectation for the faithful: “God chose those who by human standards are weak to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

We ask for prayers for Leah’s well-being and her safe return to her family and we pray for the suffering Church and others in Nigeria:

We ask you Lord today to have mercy upon your people in Nigeria.
We ask for your peace in this troubled land.

Your people in Nigeria are mourning loved ones killed for their faith.
Your people are widowed, orphaned, driven out of their homes and scattered.

Give them the strength to endure their pain and anguish.
Give them the power to forgive their enemies and those who want to silence the Church.

Help us to reach out in love to all who suffer for your name.
Help us to give to the needy and speak up for the voiceless.

May the Lord renew their strength and give them the courage to keep the Faith.
May the Lord fill them all with hope and joy.

We thank you Lord for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
Please protect them and keep them in your loving care.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.